C’wealth observer group say Malawi on global spotlight

As Malawians prepare to go to the polls to elect their councillors, Members of Parliament and a President on 20 May 2014, the Chair of Commonwealth observers in the country, former Botswana vice President Mompati Merafhe has said these elections are being followed closely around the world with much interest.

“You are in the spot light,” Merafhe said  Friday while addressing journalists in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital where the national elections voter rally centre will be.

He added: “ It is important that all stakeholders in the electoral process play their rightful roles to ensure that the wishes of the people of Malawi to choose those who will lead them is done in a free, peaceful and credible manner.”

The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Malawi, former Botswana Vice-President Mompati Merafhe (right) addresses journalists in Blantyre on 16 May 2014. On his right is Mr Martin Kasirye, the head of Democracy work at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Malawi, former Botswana Vice-President Mompati Merafhe (right) addresses journalists in Blantyre on 16 May 2014. On his right is Mr Martin Kasirye, the head of Democracy work at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Commonwealth observers leader said that the forthcoming elections are important as Malawi continues to consolidate its democratic process.

“Our presence here is a demonstration of the Commonwealth’s commitment to work with member states to support the strengthening and deepening of democracy,” he added.

Merafhe said that since the Commonwealth Observer Group arrived in the country, they had met relevant stakeholders to get a sense of the mood and electoral environment.

“Our general sense is that there seems to be a positive mood and people are looking forward to going out to cast their vote next week. It is the duty of all stakeholders to ensure that this positive mood is carried through to the end of the process.”

There are 12 candidates contesting in the presidential race. But just four candidates seem to have a shot at winning: Lazarus Chakwera of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF), Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Joyce Banda of the People’s Party (PP), who has led Malawi since the death of former president Bingu Wa Mutharika in 2012.

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